New Ethics Application

Human research is research conducted with or about people, or their data or tissue.  The appropriate review pathway for your human research project depends on the level of risk and for multisite ethical review the number and location of sites included for review.

The following matters must be considered before submitting an ethics application.

Peter Mac has implemented a review process for clinical research in which Peter Mac is acting as the study sponsor. The sponsor of a clinical research project assumes the overall responsibility for the initiation, management (including ongoing oversight) and financing (or arranging the financing) of a study, as well as the overall scientific integrity of the data derived and results reported.

If Peter Mac will be the sponsor of a clinical research project, you must consult the Office of Cancer Research (OCR) for assistance when developing your study concept. For further information, contact the OCR: [email protected].

Note that for clinical research where Peter Mac is acting as the sponsor, approval from the Clinical Research Sponsorship Committee must be submitted to the Peter Mac Ethics Committee along with the application for ethical review.

Clinical trials that will be administering an investigational medicinal product to humans for the first time may require a First Time in Human by an expert reviewer. An expert review may be required for all or some of the following areas: Medicines; Toxicology; Immunology; Biologicals; Biologicals Biodynamics & Kinetics; Medical Devices. To assess whether or not your project requires First Time in Human review, complete the FTIH Review Required Questions. This expert review must be completed before submission of the clinical trial application to the Ethics Committee. Please consult the Human Research Ethics & Governance office for advice.

Clinical research involving the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) at Peter Mac may require review by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). To assess whether or not your project requires IBC review, complete the Clinical Trials Involving GMOs questionnaire and consult the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) “Guidance on the requirements for clinical trials involving GMOs ”. If your project requires IBC review for the Peter Mac site, this should be completed prior to submission to the Ethics Committee. For any questions regarding the IBC and for submission requirements, please contact the IBC secretary: [email protected]

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Ethics Committee can provide ethical review for clinical trials and other human health and medical research projects, including low risk and negligible risk research projects, for multiple sites in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia under the National Mutual Acceptance scheme for:

  • Interventional research for multiple public hospital sites in: Victoria (from November 2009); New South Wales and Queensland (from November 2012); South Australia (from November 2013); Australian Capital Territory (from August 2016) and Western Australia (from September 2017). IMPORTANT NOTE: New South Wales and South Australia do not accept ethical review of Phase I clinical trials under National Mutual Acceptance.
  • All types of human health and medical research, including low and negligible risk research, for multiple public hospital sites in: Victoria (from February 2015); New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia (from January 2016); Australian Capital Territory (from August 2016) and Western Australia (from September 2017).

All research being ethically reviewed for sites outside of Victoria must be submitted and reviewed by the full Human Research Ethics Committee, regardless of the risk level of the project. Research being ethically reviewed for multiple sites only in Victoria may be reviewed by the full Ethics Committee or by other pathways, as appropriate to the risk level of the project.

Advice on managing your ethics and governance applications, including the participating 'HRECs, RGOs and organisations' document can be found at National Mutual Acceptance.

The Peter Mac Ethics Committee can also provide multisite ethical review for all Research Excellence (REx) partner institutions. The REx partner organisations are: Austin Health; Melbourne Health; Peter Mac; Royal Children's Hospital; St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne; Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health; Murdoch Children's Research Institute; Northern Health; Royal Women's Hospital; University of Melbourne; Walter and Eliza Hall Institute; and Western Health.

For multisite ethical review submissions the Coordinating Principal Investigator (CPI) is responsible for submitting the Ethics application on behalf of all participating sites. The Ethical Approval will be issued to the Coordinating Principal Investigator and list all eligible sites included in the ethics application. Reports required for ongoing ethical monitoring of the project for all sites e.g. amendments and annual reports, must be submitted to the reviewing HREC by the CPI or project sponsor on behalf of all sites.

Each participating site is still responsible for providing authorisation for a new project to commence at that site and for an amended project to continue at that site. The Principal Investigator (PI) at each site is responsible for submitting a governance application to the site Research Governance Office to obtain site authorisation to commence or continue. Principal Investigators will need to consult their local Research Governance Office for submission advice.

Risk is defined as a potential for harm, discomfort or inconvenience. It involves the likelihood that a harm (or discomfort or inconvenience) will occur and the severity of the harm, including its consequences. The risk may be to participants and/or to others e.g. family members, social group. Both the type of risk and the level of risk must be considered. The types of risks are well described in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (see Chapter 2.1, page 12).

Research with more than a low level of risk must be reviewed by the full Ethics Committee, for example, any research involving an intervention or requiring tissue/blood samples; research that could raise difficult/sensitive issues for participants and/or others; research requiring tissue or data to be sent offsite. Research with a low level of risk, for example prospective research projects involving surveys or questionnaires and research projects using existing data collections, may be reviewed by other pathways.

All projects must submit:

  • Human Research Ethics Application (HREA)Only one signature is required; for single site submission the Principal Investigator, or for multisite submission the Coordinating Principal Investigator.
  • Victorian Specific Module (VSM) (only if project has VIC site(s)) completed and signed. The form is created and submitted in ERM as a sub form of the project HREA. 
  • CVs (if not already submitted within the last two years): Multisite ethical review -Coordinating Principal Investigator and Principal Investigators CVs for sites included in the ethical review. Single site ethical review – Peter Mac Principal Investigator CV.

Some projects may also need to submit:

  • If project has WA site(s): Western Australian Specific Module (WASM)
  • If using unapproved therapeutic goods: Clinical Trial Notification (CTN) or Clinical Trial Exemption (CTX), listing each site under review. The CTN is an online form. Please include a PDF/screenshot of the filled in CTN for review (Peter Mac as sponsor projects please contact the Office of Cancer Research to fill out a CTN form [email protected]). Find Peter Mac contact details for use in CTNs here.
  • If using radiation: Radiation reports for each site: If radiation exposure is additional to that received as normal clinical management provide a Medical Physicist Report (contact Medical Physicist at each site). If radiation exposure is part of normal clinical management/care, the site Principal Investigator should complete a HREC Radiation Notification Letter.
  • If Peter Mac is the sponsor of a clinical research project: Approval from the Clinical Research Sponsorship Committee. 
  • If First Time in Human (FTIH) review was required: FTIH reviewer report(s).
  • If Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) review for the Peter Mac site was required: Outcome of the IBC review.
  • If project is commercially sponsored: HREC Only Indemnity. Find Peter Mac site contact details for use in Indemnities here.
  • If project is commercially sponsored: Copy of the Standard Indemnity for all sites. Find Peter Mac site contact details for use in Indemnities here.
  • Protocol
  • Investigator’s Brochure, if applicable
  • Participant Information and Consent form/s Section 5 and section 8 in this link provide the required template PICFs for different types of research and different consent situations. Multisite ethical review – provide a master PICF. Single site ethical review – provide a PICF on Peter Mac letterhead. Find Peter Mac site contact details for use in PICFs here
  • Other project documents e.g. questionnaire, diary, participant card, information brochures

NOTE: The PICF is for the use of prospective participants and should be written using clear and plain language appropriate for a general audience. Some tips for writing a PICF:

  • It is simple and straightforward.

  • The language used is easy to understand and the writing is in conversational (lounge room) style.

  • There is little or no technical jargon. Use of acronyms is kept to a minimum. If used they are clearly explained.

  • The content is written in the second person (you/your).

  • Sentences are structured with no more than 15 words, 7-10 words are even better. Mono-syllabic words are used in preference to poly-syllabic.

NOTE: Project documents must have a version/date inserted in the footer of all pages e.g. version X dated day month year. This provides for quick and accurate identification of the current approved documents to be used by the project team.

Low risk research is defined as research in which the only foreseeable risk is one of discomfort. Negligible risk research is defined as research in which the only foreseeable risk is no more than inconvenience.

  • Protocol (template protocol suitable for a simple Low Risk project is provided if required)
  • Low Risk Participant Information and Consent Form (suggested template suitable for projects with ongoing participation). Multisite ethical review – provide a master PICF. Single site ethical review – provide a PICF on Peter Mac letterhead.
  • Invitation/Introduction letters (suitable for single questionnaire/survey where consent is indicated by return of the single questionnaire/survey)
  • Questionnaires/surveys and/or other data collection tools

NOTE: The PICF is for the use of prospective participants and should be written using clear and plain language appropriate for a general audience. Some tips for writing a PICF:

  • It is simple and straightforward.
  • The language used is easy to understand and the writing is in conversational (lounge room) style.
  • There is little or no technical jargon. Use of acronyms is kept to a minimum. If used they are clearly explained.
  • The content is written in the second person (you/your).
  • Sentences are structured with no more than 15 words, 7-10 words are even better. Mono-syllabic words are used in preference to poly-syllabic.

NOTE: Project documents must have a version/date inserted in the footer of all pages e.g. version X dated day month year. This provides for quick and accurate identification of the current approved documents to be used by the project team.

  • Please ensure that all required documents are completed and that the electronic files are clearly labelled.
  • Submit all forms and project documents. 
  • The HREC Only indemnity is the only document required in hard copy, please deliver or post as per the below:

Hand delivery address:

Human Research Ethics & Governance

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Level 8, 305 Grattan Street

Melbourne VIC 3000

Postal address:

Human Research Ethics & Governance 

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Locked Bag 1 A'Beckett St 

Melbourne, VIC 8006

The Coordinating Principal Investigator or Principal Investigator will be advised of the outcome of the review and any further queries or requirements.

Provide a response to each point in the committee review memo e.g. provide explanation/further information; if revisions have been made in response, state what and where.  Provide any revised project documents in tracked and clean format.